|Publication number||US7250865 B2|
|Application number||US 11/080,135|
|Publication date||31 Jul 2007|
|Filing date||15 Mar 2005|
|Priority date||11 Sep 1998|
|Also published as||CA2343404A1, CA2343404C, EP1112558A1, EP1112558A4, US6204764, US6407665, US20010006368, US20020145520, US20040095241, US20050156739, WO2000016280A1|
|Publication number||080135, 11080135, US 7250865 B2, US 7250865B2, US-B2-7250865, US7250865 B2, US7250865B2|
|Inventors||William C. Maloney|
|Original Assignee||Key Control Holding, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (102), Non-Patent Citations (2), Referenced by (42), Classifications (47), Legal Events (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/614,590, filed on Jul. 7, 2003, now abandoned; which application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/122,507, filed on Apr. 15, 2002, now abandoned; which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/797,338, filed on Mar. 1, 2001, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,407,665; which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/393,223 filed on Sep. 9, 1999, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,204,764; which application claims the benefit of the filing date of prior filed U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/099,954 filed Sep. 11, 1998.
This invention relates generally to object tracking and control systems and more particularly to systems for tracking and controlling access to and disposition of objects such as keys.
Many objects have intrinsic value or have value because they provide access to other valuable objects. For instance, jewelry and coins have inherent intrinsic value while keys, such as keys to vehicles, have value because they provide access to other valuable objects, namely automobiles and trucks. Further, access to and control of some items, such as narcotics for example, needs to be monitored, tracked, and controlled to assure against unauthorized access or assure that proper and appropriate accesses catalogued. There is a serious need to be able to track, catalogue access to, and control such objects in a way that is reliable, simple to implement, and virtually tamper proof.
In the past, a variety of systems have been implemented to track and control objects. In the case of keys in an automobile dealership, for example, pegboards have been used to keep track of the keys as sales persons, maintenance personnel, and others remove keys for access to vehicles. Generally, sign out sheets are used to log the check-in and checkout of such keys. Obviously, such a manual system of tracking has numerous shortcomings due in large part to the very real potential of human error and forgetfulness in carrying out the sign-in and sign-out procedures.
More recently, automated computer controlled key tracking systems have been implemented for tracking, for example, vehicle keys at car lots and keys to the apartments of apartment complexes. One such system particularly applicable to the present invention is the key tracking system disclosed and claimed in my U.S. Pat. No. 5,801,628 the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated fully by reference. In the disclosed system, referred to herein as the “Key Track” system, keys to a vehicle are attached with a rivet or the like to a thin plastic key tag or card having a depending tongue. The tongue carries a small button shaped electronic touch memory device, which electronically stores a unique code. The tongues of the key tags are configured to be insertable in an array of slots formed in a top panel within a storage drawer. A printed circuit backplane is disposed beneath the top panel and is provided with a plurality of pairs of metal contacts, each pair of contacts being aligned with a corresponding one of the slots in the top panel. When the tongue of a key card is inserted in a selected one of the slots, its touch memory device is engaged by the corresponding pair of contacts.
A computer or microprocessor or microcontroller based controller is electronically coupled through a communications matrix to the contacts on the backplane and periodically polls each pair of contacts, preferably several times per second, to determine the presence or absence of a touch memory device and thus which slots contain key cards and which do not. More specifically, if no information is received from a particular pair of contacts when polled, it is determined that the slot corresponding to the pair of contacts is empty. When a slot contains a key card, the touch memory device of the card responds to the poll by transmitting its unique code, from which the identity of the particular key attached to the card can be determined through a table lookup. In this way, the absence or presence and location in the storage drawer of key cards and their associated keys can be noted by the controller each time the array of contacts are polled. If a card present in a slot on a prior polling is absent on a subsequent polling, then the controller notes that the card and its key have been removed from the storage drawer. Conversely, if a key card is detected in a previously empty slot, the controller notes that the card and its key have been replaced in the storage drawer The removal and replacement of keys is therefore continuously monitored.
An access feature requires an authorized user such as a sales person to enter an ID code to unlock and access the storage drawer. When the history of removal and replacement of key cards and their keys is combined with other information, such as the time at which cards are removed and replaced and the identities of the persons who accessed the drawer and times of access, access to the keys in the drawer can be controlled and a detailed tracking log can be created. This Key Track system greatly decreases instances of lost keys, reduces the time required to find checked-out keys, and generally provides automatic tracking and control of the keys, and thus, to a large extent, controls and tracks the vehicles to which the keys provide access.
While the Key Track system described above has proven extremely valuable in the tracking and control of keys, it nevertheless has certain problems and shortcomings inherent in its design. For example, the backplane of the system, which may contain dozens of upstanding metal contacts for engaging the electronic touch memory devices of key cards, can be relatively complex and labor intensive to fabricate and requires precision in the placement and orientation of contact pairs. In addition, foreign items such as loose keys or other small metal items that may inadvertently be dropped into or hang through one of the slots in the top panel can and sometimes do short the contacts on the backplane, resulting in the potential for false key tracking logs or, in extreme cases, error conditions that can result in degradation of the integrity of the entire system.
Furthermore, because the reading of the codes stored in the touch memory devices relies upon physical contact between the touch memory devices and the electrical contacts on the backplane, resistances that can result from corroded contacts or dirty touch memory devices can also result in false and degrading readings. Additionally, the electrical contacts sometimes become bent or sprung so that they fail to make proper contact with the touch memory devices of key cards placed in their corresponding slots. These and other related problems all result from the requirement in the Key Track system that object detection and identification relies upon physical electrical contact between a set of electrical contacts and an electronic touch memory device.
Thus, even though the Key Track system has proven very useful and successful, there exists a continuing need to enhance the system in such a way that the problems mentioned above are addressed in an efficient, economic, and reliable way. It is to the provision of such enhancements and improvements that the present invention is primarily directed.
Briefly described, the present invention, in one preferred embodiment thereof, comprises enhancements and improvements to the Key Track system disclosed in my U.S. Pat. No. 5,801,628 to address the problems resulting from the requirement of physical electrical contact for detecting and identifying objects. More specifically, the invention comprises an object tracking system for tracking the removal of objects from a location and the replacement of the objects at the location. In the preferred embodiment, the objects to be tracked are thin plastic cards to which keys can be attached or small containers into which keys or other items can be placed. Keys may also be attached to the outside surfaces of the containers if desired. It should be understood, however, that the present invention is applicable to a wide variety of objects other than these. The key cards and containers that are the “objects” in the present disclosure are exemplary only and represent the best mode of practicing the invention, but are not intended to impose limitations on the invention. In this disclosure, the term “objects” is used in the context of the preferred embodiment to refer to the key cards and containers in combination with the keys attached thereto. It should be understood, however, that the “object” should be interpreted to any item that is desired to be tracked and monitored with the system of this invention and is not limited to key cards, containers, keys, or any other particular item.
An ID tag is attached to each of the objects to be tracked by the system and each ID tag includes electronic storage means carrying a stored code associated with the object to which the ID tag is attached. If another item, such as a key, is attached to the object, then the code also identifies the other item. Each ID tag is adapted to transmit its stored code by means of non-contact transmission such as, for example, radio frequency transmission, when the ID tag is appropriately activated.
A storage unit is provided at the location with the storage unit having a plurality of receptacles configured to receive objects when objects are replaced at the location and to allow the objects to be selectively removed from the storage unit when the objects are to be removed from the location. A sensor is associated with each of the receptacles in the storage unit for activating the ID tag of an object in the receptacle and, in turn, detecting the resulting transmission by the ID tag of the stored code associated with the object. Selection circuitry is coupled to the sensors for successively selecting the sensors. Each sensor, when selected, detects the stored code associated with an object if an object is present in the corresponding receptacle and detects no code if an object is not present in the corresponding receptacle.
A computer or microprocessor based or other appropriate controller is coupled to the sensors through a communications link for receiving stored codes detected by the sensors and determining, based on the received codes, the absence of objects removed from the storage unit and the presence and location within the storage unit of objects present in the storage unit.
In the preferred embodiment, the ID tags attached to the objects are radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, which are adapted to transmit their stored codes through radio frequency transmission when the tags are appropriately activated. Each of the ID tags includes an antenna for transmitting its stored code and, in one embodiment, for receiving data to be stored or acted on by the RFID tag. Each of the sensors includes an antenna for activating the RFID tags and receiving stored codes transmitted thereby and/or convey data to the RFID tags. In one preferred embodiment, the antenna of each RFID tag comprises a pair of capacitive plates located on the object and the antenna of each sensor comprises a pair of capacitive plates positioned to align with the capacitive plates of an RFID tag when an object bearing the RFID tag is placed in the corresponding receptacle of the storage unit. In another embodiment, the antenna of each RFID tag comprises an inductive loop antenna coupled to the RFID tag and the antenna of each sensor includes a corresponding inductive loop positioned to align with the loop of an RFID tag when an object bearing the RFID tag is inserted in a corresponding receptacle of the storage unit. In either case, the RFID tag of an object in a receptacle of the storage unit is activated when radio frequency power is supplied to the antenna of the sensor corresponding to the receptacle and the code of the RFID tag is detected by the sensor and conveyed through the communications link to the controller. Thus, detection and identification of objects within the storage unit is accomplished through non-contact radio frequency transmissions.
The object tracking system of the present invention provides a number of advantages over systems requiring physical electrical contact for detection and identification of objects in a storage unit. For example, since codes are conveyed not through physical contact but rather through radio frequency transmission or through modulation of a radio frequency signal, foreign objects that may fall into the storage unit do not result in shorted contacts and have little effect on the integrity and reliability of the system. Further, when this invention is applied to an object tracking system including a panel with receptacles and a backplane, the antenna of the sensors can be formed on the backplane in inexpensive and reliable ways such as, for example, through common printed circuit board etching techniques. The sensors can be formed on the back side of the backplane if desired to protect the sensors further. Thus, not only is the system more reliable than prior art systems, it is also more economical to produce. Finally, because the detection of codes is accomplished through radio frequency transmissions, problems associated with interference or cross-talk in the data matrix that must be addressed with systems employing physical contacts are much less prevalent and, even where present, are simpler to address. Also, since no physical electrical contact is required for detecting codes, problems associated with corroded or bent contacts or dirty touch memory devices are eliminated altogether. As a matter of fact, the present object tracking system functions as well in commonly encountered dirty or corrosive conditions as in clean conditions. Finally, since the RFID tags have no polarity requirements as do physical contacts, the objects can be placed in the slots in any orientation.
Thus it is seen that an improved object tracking system is now provided that successfully addresses the shortcomings of prior systems wherein physical electrical contact has been required for object detection and identification. The system lends itself to a wide variety of applications where it would otherwise be difficult to employ systems requiring physical electrical contacts and is economical, robust, and reliable. These and other features, objects, and advantages will become more apparent upon review of the detailed description set forth below when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which are briefly described as follows.
The present invention will be described in detail within the general context of a key or small item tracking system. In such a system, keys to vehicles are attached to key cards (or placed in or on the outside surface of small containers), which are checked out from and replaced in a centrally located storage unit. Each key card is provided with an RFID tag. The storage unit preferably has a top panel formed with an array of receptacles for receiving the key cards. A backplane is disposed beneath the panel and has an array of sensors for detecting and identifying key cards located in the receptacles of the storage unit. This configuration is discussed in detail in my issued patent, which provides background for the discussions that follow.
Even though a preferred embodiment of the invention is as a key or small item tracking system, it should be kept in mind during review of the detailed description that follows that the invention has a wide variety of uses wherever there is a need to track access to and location of objects. In many such configurations, the RFID tags may be attached directly to the objects that ultimately are to be tracked, although in the preferred embodiments, the “objects” to which the RFID tags are attached are key cards or containers and the keys attached thereto are the items ultimately to be tracked. The particular context within which the invention is described should therefore not be considered to be a limitation of the invention.
Referring now in more detail to the drawings, in which like numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views,
RFID tags such as those illustrated in
While the embodiment of
In the passive RFID tag 71 illustrated in
The system of
The capacitive plates 87 and 88 are positioned on the backplane 84 such that they align with the capacitive plates 54 and 56 attached to an object inserted in the corresponding receptacle 83. That is, when the object is inserted in the receptacle such that its bottom side rests on the backplane, the capacitive plates 54 and 56 attached to the object align with and are disposed adjacent to the capacitive plates 87 and 88 of the respective sensor. While the capacitive plates 87 and 88 are shown on the top surface of The backplane in
One of the capacitive plates 88 of each RF sensor is connected to radio frequency ground 94 while the other is coupled, through a radio frequency switch 89, to a radio frequency source 93. Each radio frequency switch 89, in turn, is connected to a row and column selection bus and all the row and column selection busses are electronically coupled to the matrix selector. The matrix selector is configured to address the row and column of an RF sensor in the array of sensors to activate that sensor for receiving codes of an object, if any, in the receptacle corresponding to the sensor. By “selection” it is meant that a radio frequency carrier signal is applied to the plates of the sensor through the switch 89. One implementation of this selection or switching or polling process is described in more detail below.
The storage unit 81 is indicated generically in
The object tracking system shown in
By sequentially polling the sensors in relatively rapid order (preferably several times per second) the controller is able to log when objects are removed from the storage unit, when they are replaced, and also the location or receptacle within the storage unit where an object is located. More specifically, if an object is detected in a receptacle during one polling cycle and is not detected in a subsequent cycle, then the controller notes that the object has been removed from the storage unit. Alternatively, if no object is noted on a polling cycle and an object is detected on a subsequent polling cycle, then the controller notes that the object has been replaced in the storage unit and that it is located at the receptacle corresponding to the sensor that detected the object. As with prior Key Track systems, this information can be compiled to create logs, reports, control commands, alarm generating signals, and otherwise for tracking and controlling access to the objects.
In general, the circuit of
While not illustrated in
When it desired to activate or select the sensor at location I, the controller, through the matrix selector, sets the row select 109 for row 1 to a low state and the column select 92 for column 1 to a high state. The low state of the row select 109 causes the N-channel MOSFET inverting switch 112 to set the row trace 113 to a high state. Similarly, the high state of column select 92 turns on transistor 121, pulling the column trace 114 to a low state. This causes diode 119 to be forward biased, which turns the diode on and connects capacitive plate 87 of the sensor at location I to the radio frequency source 106. Thus, the sensor at location I is activated, i.e. is connected to the RF carrier signal. However, the sensors at the other locations are not activated because their diodes are maintained in a reverse biased condition since only transistor 121 at column 1 is turned on.
Capacitor 118 forms a high pass filter that blocks DC voltages of the selection matrix from being transferred back to the RF source while allowing radio frequency modulations from an RFID tag to be transferred back for interpretation by the RF encoder/decoder 66. Inductances 117 and 124 form RF chokes that isolate row and column selector circuitry from the RF signals. If an object bearing an RFID tag is present at location I, its code will be conveyed to the RF encoder/decoder and then transmitted to the controller 64 in the manner previously described. If no object is present at location I, no code will be received. The controller can thus determine the absence of an object at location I or the presence of an object at location I.
The process is repeated sequentially for sensors at locations J, K, etc. by activating the appropriate row and column trace to forward bias their diode switches and connect them to the radio frequency source 106 and the encoder/decoder 66. Preferably, as mentioned above, the sensors at the various locations are polled continuously at a relatively high rate of several times per second. In this way, the controller can easily determine the time at which objects bearing RFID tags are removed and replaced at the storage location.
With this configuration, it will be seen that when the key card 111 is inserted into the receptacle 131, the capacitive plates 22 and 23 of its RFID tag 19 align with capacitive plates 134 and 141 of the sensor. Activation of the RFID tag and conveyance of its code can thus be accomplished as described above.
The card 156 bearing RFID tag 166 is inserted in a receptacle 170 formed in the top panel of a storage unit. The unit's backplane 171 is provided with an upstanding daughter board 172 corresponding to the receptacle 170. The daughter board 172 carries the antenna of the RF sensor in the form of a looped antenna 173 that is connected to other components of the system through traces 174. When the key card 156 is inserted in the receptacle 170, its inductive loop antenna 168 aligns with the loop antenna 173 on the daughter board 172. Radio frequency energy can then be transferred to and from the RFID tag in the same way as with the capacitive RFID tag described above. However, in this embodiment, the radio frequency energy and information carried by modulations thereof is conveyed through inductive coupling between the two loop antennas 168 and 173. Otherwise, the system functions in the same way as the previous capacitively coupled embodiment.
The stem 184 of the object 181 is inserted through an opening 189 in a top panel to replace the object in a storage unit. A backplane 191 is provided with a sensor post 192, which projects upwardly from the backplane 191 and is aligned with the receptacle 189. The sensor post 192 is provided with a sensor in the form of an inductive loop antenna 193 that wraps around the post and that is connected to other components of the system through traces 194. When the object 181 is inserted through the receptacle 189, the sensor post 192 is received in the socket 186 in such a way that the inductive loop antenna 193 of the sensor is disposed within and concentric with the inductive loop antenna 187 of the RFID tag. Communication between the system and the RFID tag is then possible as previously described. One advantage of the embodiment of
Another configuration of the inductively coupled object tracking system is shown in
In use, the controller 234 sequentially polls the antennae 232 in the drawers of the filing cabinet (or in several filing cabinets if desired). When the antenna of each drawer is activated, the RFID tags of file folders 229 within the drawer are activated and transmit their unique codes to the antenna 232. The controller 234 then detects these codes and can determine from the codes received, which files are in the drawer. In addition, when polled rapidly such as, for example, several times per second, the controller can determine when files are removed from drawers, when they are replaced, and which drawer they are in when replaced. This information can be used in a variety of beneficial ways, including the elimination of structured filing systems, which can be cumbersome to maintain. With the object tracking system of the present invention applied to a filing cabinet, a user need only ask the controller where a file is located and the controller can indicated which drawer of which cabinet contains the file. If the file has been checked out by another individual, the controller can inform the user the identity of the person who has the file. These and other advantages of the application applied to a filing system are possible.
The invention has been described herein in terms of preferred embodiments and methodologies. More specifically, the invention has primarily been described in terms of a system for tracking keys or other small objects that can be attached to a key card or enclosed in a container. While these are preferred applications of the invention, it will be understood that the invention is fair from limited to the specific embodiments and applications discussed herein. Virtually any types of objects that need to be tracked can be tracked with the present invention as long as they can be provided with RFID tags and a storage receptacle for receiving the objects. Thus, a wide variety of additions, deletions, and modifications might well be made to the embodiments illustrated herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the claims.
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US29236||24 Jul 1860||Etienne bernot|
|US527589||5 Jan 1894||16 Oct 1894||Device for tradesmen s use|
|US2971806||18 Jul 1957||14 Feb 1961||Norman H Andreasen||In-and-out pager cabinet|
|US3451043||21 Feb 1966||17 Jun 1969||Stephen R Krause||Components and system for use with inventory interrogating control and readout method and apparatus|
|US3648241||20 Mar 1969||7 Mar 1972||Elecompack Co Ltd||Stationary stack assembly with remotely controlled access|
|US4060795||17 Aug 1976||29 Nov 1977||Hitachi, Ltd.||Scanning system|
|US4112717||15 Apr 1977||12 Sep 1978||Supra Products, Inc.||Key box|
|US4209787||31 Aug 1978||24 Jun 1980||Gould Inc.||Method for monitoring the location of monitored objects|
|US4267942||20 Jun 1979||19 May 1981||John B. Wick, Jr.||Pharmaceutical dispensing cabinet|
|US4275385||13 Aug 1979||23 Jun 1981||Bell Telephone Laboratories, Incorporated||Infrared personnel locator system|
|US4419734||9 Jan 1981||6 Dec 1983||Indata Corporation||Inventory control system|
|US4519522||6 Jul 1981||28 May 1985||Photo Vending Corporation||Apparatus and method for storing and retrieving articles|
|US4549170||10 May 1983||22 Oct 1985||Serres Bernard M||System for managing a panel of objects such as keys|
|US4575719||14 Oct 1983||11 Mar 1986||Avicom International, Inc.||Controlled access storage system|
|US4595922||10 Dec 1984||17 Jun 1986||Cobb Richard G||Method and apparatus for monitoring keys and other articles|
|US4635053||6 Sep 1984||6 Jan 1987||Banks Edward J K||Apparatus for supervising access to individual items|
|US4636634||28 Aug 1984||13 Jan 1987||Veeco Integrated Automation, Inc.||Apparatus with intelligent bins indicating the presence and identity of stored coded articles|
|US4636950||28 Aug 1985||13 Jan 1987||Caswell Robert L||Inventory management system using transponders associated with specific products|
|US4658357||2 Oct 1984||14 Apr 1987||B.I. Incorporated||Time and accounting system|
|US4661806||10 May 1985||28 Apr 1987||Peters Gilbert A||Computer controlled key management system|
|US4673915||12 Dec 1985||16 Jun 1987||Cobb Richard G||Key storage and monitoring system|
|US4737910||15 Oct 1985||12 Apr 1988||Kimbrow Ronald H||Apparatus for tracking inventory|
|US4783655||24 Mar 1986||8 Nov 1988||Richard G. Cobb||Article monitoring system with printing capability|
|US4796209||26 Jun 1986||3 Jan 1989||Allegheny Ludlum Corporation||Random inventory system|
|US4812985||15 Sep 1986||14 Mar 1989||Ja-Pac, Inc||Article storage and retrieval system|
|US4814592||29 May 1986||21 Mar 1989||Videomat Associates||Apparatus and method for storing and retrieving articles|
|US4827395||6 Apr 1987||2 May 1989||Intelli-Tech Corporation||Manufacturing monitoring and control systems|
|US4839875||14 May 1987||13 Jun 1989||Anritsu Corporation||Technique for automatic tracking of cassette rentals and managing of information related thereto|
|US4845492||27 May 1987||4 Jul 1989||Richard G. Cobb||Article monitoring system with printing capability|
|US4853692||7 Dec 1987||1 Aug 1989||Wolk Barry M||Infant security system|
|US4866661||26 Mar 1986||12 Sep 1989||Prins Maurits L De||Computer controlled rental and sale system and method for a supermarket and the like|
|US4882569||26 Jul 1988||21 Nov 1989||Security Tag Systems, Inc.||Deactivatable fequency-dividing-transponder tag|
|US4885571||12 Aug 1988||5 Dec 1989||B. I. Incorperated||Tag for use with personnel monitoring system|
|US4889977||21 Dec 1987||26 Dec 1989||Southwestern Bell Telephone Company||Method of identifying the disposition of plug-in units at a warehouse|
|US4896024||19 Oct 1987||23 Jan 1990||Diebold, Incorporated||Apparatus for dispensing and accepting return of reusable articles|
|US4918432||15 Aug 1989||17 Apr 1990||B. I. Incorporated||House arrest monitoring system|
|US4926161||23 Oct 1989||15 May 1990||Cupp Ted W||Method of monitoring golf carts on a golf course|
|US4940966||8 Jun 1988||10 Jul 1990||Scientific Generics Limited||Article detection and/or recognition using magnetic devices|
|US4960651||7 Jun 1988||2 Oct 1990||Scientific Generics Limited||Magnetic devices|
|US4967906||16 Oct 1989||6 Nov 1990||Diebold, Incorporated||Apparatus for dispensing and accepting return of reusable articles|
|US5021778||11 Sep 1989||4 Jun 1991||Walton Charles A||Capacitance coupled proximity identification system|
|US5038023||28 Jun 1989||6 Aug 1991||C. Itoh Information Systems Development, Inc.||System for storing and monitoring bar coded articles such as keys in a drawer|
|US5062151||27 Apr 1990||29 Oct 1991||Fisher Berkeley Corporation||Communication system|
|US5099227||18 Dec 1989||24 Mar 1992||Indala Corporation||Proximity detecting apparatus|
|US5172829||26 Sep 1991||22 Dec 1992||Siemens Nixdorf Information Systems, Inc.||Automated key dispenser|
|US5182570||4 Dec 1991||26 Jan 1993||X-Cyte Inc.||End fed flat antenna|
|US5218344||31 Jul 1991||8 Jun 1993||Ricketts James G||Method and system for monitoring personnel|
|US5287414||21 Jun 1991||15 Feb 1994||Esselte Pendaflex Corporation||Coded file locator system|
|US5319544||20 Nov 1989||7 Jun 1994||Itt Corporation||Computerized inventory monitoring and verification system and method|
|US5335170||4 Sep 1992||2 Aug 1994||Comtec Information Systems, Inc.||Modular system for inventory control|
|US5374815||15 Mar 1993||20 Dec 1994||Electronic Retailing Systems Int'l Inc.||Technique for locating electronic labels in an electronic price display system|
|US5402104||9 Jun 1993||28 Mar 1995||Larosa; Lazaro||Scanning excessive separation alarm|
|US5404384||25 Jan 1993||4 Apr 1995||Medselect Systems, Inc.||Inventory monitoring apparatus employing counter for adding and subtracting objects being monitored|
|US5426284||4 Aug 1993||20 Jun 1995||Engineered Data Products, Inc.||Apparatus for locating and tracking information storage items using predefined labels|
|US5434775||4 Nov 1993||18 Jul 1995||The General Hospital Corporation||Managing an inventory of devices|
|US5448110||14 Sep 1993||5 Sep 1995||Micron Communications, Inc.||Enclosed transceiver|
|US5510770||30 Mar 1994||23 Apr 1996||Checkpoint Systems, Inc.||Surface deactivateable tag|
|US5521815||9 Aug 1993||28 May 1996||K.L.E. Irrevocable Trust||Uniform system for verifying and tracking articles of value|
|US5528222||9 Sep 1994||18 Jun 1996||International Business Machines Corporation||Radio frequency circuit and memory in thin flexible package|
|US5533079||25 Jan 1994||2 Jul 1996||Medselect Systems, Inc.||Inventory monitoring apparatus|
|US5554974||23 Nov 1994||10 Sep 1996||International Business Machines Corporation||Encodable tag with radio frequency readout|
|US5574470||11 Oct 1995||12 Nov 1996||Palomar Technologies Corporation||Radio frequency identification transponder apparatus and method|
|US5627520||10 Jul 1995||6 May 1997||Protell Systems International, Inc.||Tamper detect monitoring device|
|US5635693||2 Feb 1995||3 Jun 1997||International Business Machines Corporation||System and method for tracking vehicles in vehicle lots|
|US5661457||19 Jun 1995||26 Aug 1997||Sensormatic Electronics Corporation||Directional antenna configuration for asset tracking system|
|US5671362||4 Apr 1995||23 Sep 1997||Cowe; Alan B.||Materials monitoring systems, materials management systems and related methods|
|US5689238||8 Mar 1996||18 Nov 1997||Lucent Technologies, Inc.||Object locator system and methods therefor|
|US5703785||19 Aug 1994||30 Dec 1997||Bluemel; Mark R.||Inventory control apparatus and method of using same|
|US5708419||22 Jul 1996||13 Jan 1998||Checkpoint Systems, Inc.||Method of wire bonding an integrated circuit to an ultraflexible substrate|
|US5736929||7 Jun 1996||7 Apr 1998||International Business Machines Corporation||System for concealed serialization utilizing a soft magnetic antitheft element|
|US5745366||10 Oct 1995||28 Apr 1998||Omnicell Technologies, Inc.||Pharmaceutical dispensing device and methods|
|US5768921||18 Apr 1997||23 Jun 1998||Supra Products, Inc.||Key box device|
|US5771003||24 Sep 1996||23 Jun 1998||Elenco Electronics, Inc.||Locating system and process|
|US5777884||16 Oct 1995||7 Jul 1998||Minnesota Mining And Manufacturing Company||Article inventory tracking and control system|
|US5794213 *||6 Jun 1995||11 Aug 1998||Markman; Herbert L.||Method and apparatus for reforming grouped items|
|US5801628||5 Sep 1996||1 Sep 1998||Key-Trak, Inc.||Inventoriable-object control and tracking system|
|US5805074||2 Jul 1992||8 Sep 1998||Meridian Incorporated||Electronic interlock for storage assemblies|
|US5821859||7 Jun 1996||13 Oct 1998||Ibm Corporation||Concealed magnetic ID code and antitheft tag|
|US5836002||1 Jun 1995||10 Nov 1998||Morstein; Jason||Anti-theft device|
|US5905653||4 Dec 1997||18 May 1999||Omnicell Technologies, Inc.||Methods and devices for dispensing pharmaceutical and medical supply items|
|US5934499||18 Apr 1997||10 Aug 1999||Van Der Hoven; Clifton Aubrey||Locker box|
|US5936527 *||10 Feb 1998||10 Aug 1999||E-Tag Systems, Inc.||Method and apparatus for locating and tracking documents and other objects|
|US5957372||12 Jul 1996||28 Sep 1999||Diebold, Incorporated||Apparatus and method for accepting return of unused medical items|
|US5961036||29 Jan 1998||5 Oct 1999||Diebold, Incorporated||Apparatus and method for accepting return of unused medical items|
|US5963134||24 Jul 1997||5 Oct 1999||Checkpoint Systems, Inc.||Inventory system using articles with RFID tags|
|US5971593||26 Jun 1998||26 Oct 1999||Diebold, Incorporated||Dispensing system for medical items|
|US6054924||24 Sep 1997||25 Apr 2000||Flying Null Limited||Magnetic markers|
|US6069563||4 Mar 1997||30 May 2000||Kadner; Steven P.||Seal system|
|US6073834||20 Jul 1999||13 Jun 2000||Diebold, Incorporated||Apparatus and method for accepting return of unused medical items|
|US6075441||6 May 1998||13 Jun 2000||Key-Trak, Inc.||Inventoriable-object control and tracking system|
|US6131808 *||20 Apr 1995||17 Oct 2000||Morse Watchmans Inc.||System and device for storing objects|
|US6148271||14 Jan 1998||14 Nov 2000||Silicon Pie, Inc.||Speed, spin rate, and curve measuring device|
|US6195005||9 Sep 1999||27 Feb 2001||Key-Trak, Inc.||Object carriers for an object control and tracking system|
|US6204764||9 Sep 1999||20 Mar 2001||Key-Trak, Inc.||Object tracking system with non-contact object detection and identification|
|US6232876||9 Sep 1999||15 May 2001||Key-Trak, Inc.||Mobile object tracking system|
|US6292795||16 Feb 1999||18 Sep 2001||International Business Machines Corporation||Indexed file system and a method and a mechanism for accessing data records from such a system|
|US6431438||4 Oct 2000||13 Aug 2002||Morse Watchmans, Inc.||System and device for storing objects|
|USD308777||26 Feb 1987||26 Jun 1990||Display rack|
|USD375857||15 Jun 1995||26 Nov 1996||Quebec Inc.||Drawer|
|USD383341||10 May 1996||9 Sep 1997||Grosfillex Sarl||Reversible bottle support shelf|
|USD415367||2 Apr 1998||19 Oct 1999||A.L.S. Industries, Inc.||Drawer and rack for cassette cabinet|
|USD429093||19 Oct 1999||8 Aug 2000||Master Fasteners Inc.||Display container for fastener packages|
|1||Dallas Semiconductor-DS2407 Dual Addressable Switch Plus 1K-Bit Memory-2 Page Brochure-1995.|
|2||Memory-Based Identifier Tag Provides Digital ID-Dave Bursky-Electronic Design-Jul. 25, 1992-pp. 153-156.|
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US7336182 *||19 Oct 2007||26 Feb 2008||Awarepoint Corporation||Wireless tracking system and method with optical tag removal detection|
|US7397372 *||22 Dec 2005||8 Jul 2008||Motorola, Inc.||Method and apparatus for marketing retail goods|
|US7443297||29 Dec 2007||28 Oct 2008||Awarepoint Corporation||Wireless tracking system and method with optical tag removal detection|
|US7551089||21 Jul 2005||23 Jun 2009||Automated Tracking Solutions, Llc||Method and apparatus for tracking objects and people|
|US7557709 *||13 Oct 2006||7 Jul 2009||RFID Mexico, S.A. DE C.V.||Item tracking system|
|US7564357 *||24 Feb 2008||21 Jul 2009||Awarepoint Corporation||Wireless tracking system and method with optical tag removal detection|
|US7661591||1 Oct 2004||16 Feb 2010||Promega Corporation||RF point of sale and delivery method and system using communication with remote computer and having features to read a large number of RF tags|
|US7710275||16 Mar 2007||4 May 2010||Promega Corporation||RFID reader enclosure and man-o-war RFID reader system|
|US7735732||24 Jun 2004||15 Jun 2010||Promega Corporation||Radio frequency identification method and system of distributing products|
|US7784689||5 May 2006||31 Aug 2010||Promega Corporation||Radio frequency identification method and system of distributing products|
|US7791479||13 Nov 2006||7 Sep 2010||Promega Corporation||RFID point of sale and delivery method and system|
|US7834765||16 Mar 2009||16 Nov 2010||Automated Tracking Solutions, Llc||Method and apparatus for tracking objects and people|
|US7834766||3 Apr 2009||16 Nov 2010||Automated Tracking Solutions, Llc||Method and apparatus for tracking objects and people|
|US7942321||8 Jun 2004||17 May 2011||Promega Corporation||Radio frequency identification method and system of disturbing products|
|US7956746 *||8 Oct 2008||7 Jun 2011||Awarepoint Corporation||Wireless tracking system and method with tag removal detection|
|US7967199||24 Jul 2009||28 Jun 2011||Promega Corporation||Radio frequency identification method and system of distributing products|
|US8020768||1 Apr 2009||20 Sep 2011||RFID Mexico, S.A. DE C.V.||Portable container inventory control system|
|US8025228||31 Oct 2007||27 Sep 2011||Promega Corporation||RF point of sale and delivery method and system using communication with remote computer and having features to read a large number of RF tags|
|US8031072||13 Apr 2010||4 Oct 2011||Promega Corporation||RFID reader enclosure and man-o-war RFID reader system|
|US8113425||14 Apr 2011||14 Feb 2012||Promega Corporation||RF point of sale and delivery method and system using communication with remote computer and having features to read a large number of RF tags|
|US8194045||15 Sep 2009||5 Jun 2012||Singleton Technology, Llc||Transaction automation and archival system using electronic contract disclosure units|
|US8228299||24 Jul 2012||Singleton Technology, Llc||Transaction automation and archival system using electronic contract and disclosure units|
|US8231053||5 May 2011||31 Jul 2012||Promega Corporation||Radio frequency identification method and system of distributing products|
|US8258961||7 Sep 2011||4 Sep 2012||Promega Corporation||RFID reader enclosure and man-o-war RFID reader system|
|US8279069||11 Oct 2010||2 Oct 2012||Automated Tracking Solutions, Llc||Method and apparatus for tracking objects and people|
|US8390867 *||28 Oct 2008||5 Mar 2013||Canon Kabushiki Kaisha||Form generation system and form generation method|
|US8531424||27 Jun 2012||10 Sep 2013||Reynolds & Reynolds Holdings, Inc.||Transaction automation and archival system using electronic contract disclosure units|
|US8547356||14 Oct 2011||1 Oct 2013||Reynolds & Reynolds Holdings, Inc.||Transaction automation and archival system using electronic contract disclosure units|
|US8610574||2 Jun 2010||17 Dec 2013||Gerald Isaac Kestenbaum||Item storage and tracking system|
|US8723674 *||7 Mar 2011||13 May 2014||Aesynt Incorporated||Sensory tracking of inventory|
|US8742929||23 Apr 2012||3 Jun 2014||Automated Tracking Solutions, Llc||Method and apparatus for tracking objects and people|
|US8842013||31 Jan 2014||23 Sep 2014||Automated Tracking Solutions, Llc||Method and apparatus for tracking objects and people|
|US8854330||9 Aug 2013||7 Oct 2014||Reynolds & Reynolds Holdings, Inc.||Transaction automation and archival system using electronic contract disclosure units|
|US8866615||31 Jan 2014||21 Oct 2014||Automated Tracking Solutions, Llc||Method and apparatus for tracking objects and people|
|US8896449||31 Jan 2014||25 Nov 2014||Automated Tracking Solutions, Llc||Method and apparatus for tracking objects and people|
|US8933904||28 Aug 2013||13 Jan 2015||Reynolds & Reynolds Holdings, Inc.||Transaction automation and archival system using electronic contract disclosure units|
|US9081423||23 Jul 2014||14 Jul 2015||Reynolds & Reynolds Holdings, Inc.||Transaction automation and archival system using electrode contract disclosure units|
|US20040070150 *||29 Sep 2003||15 Apr 2004||Elizabeth Chitren||Unitizing element and method for assembling a seal|
|US20050083796 *||28 Sep 2004||21 Apr 2005||Stephen Gold||Storage structure and associated method|
|US20050127177 *||30 Sep 2004||16 Jun 2005||Promega Corporation|
|US20090109479 *||28 Oct 2008||30 Apr 2009||Canon Kabushiki Kaisha||Form generation system and form generation method|
|US20120229279 *||7 Mar 2011||13 Sep 2012||Conley Louis S||Sensory tracking of inventory|
|U.S. Classification||340/572.1, 340/568.1, 340/572.9|
|International Classification||G07B15/02, G07B15/04, G06K17/00, G08B13/14, G08B13/24|
|Cooperative Classification||G08B13/2434, G07C2009/00936, G08B21/0286, G08B13/2448, G08B21/0288, G08B13/1454, G08B13/2417, G08B13/2471, G08B13/1463, G07C9/00896, G08B13/2431, G08B13/2462, G08B13/1427, G06K2017/0045, G08B13/2474, G07B15/04, G08B21/023, G08B13/2482, G08B13/2477, G07C11/00, G06K17/00|
|European Classification||G07C9/00E20, G08B13/14H4, G08B13/14H2, G08B13/24B3C, G08B13/24B7A2, G08B21/02A26, G08B13/24B7A3, G08B13/24B7M, G08B13/24B3U, G08B13/24B1G1, G08B13/24B5T, G08B21/02A27, G08B13/24B3H, G08B13/24B7A1, G08B21/02A7, G07B15/04, G06K17/00, G08B13/14D|
|5 Apr 2005||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: KEY-TRAK, INC., GEORGIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:MALONEY, WILLIAM C.;REEL/FRAME:016010/0577
Effective date: 19990909
|20 Jun 2007||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: KEY CONTROL HOLDING, INC., A DELAWARE CORPORATION,
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:KEY-TRAK, INC., A FLORIDA CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:019461/0601
Effective date: 20041209
|26 Apr 2010||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: DEUTSCHE BANK AG NEW YORK BRANCH, AS COLLATERAL AG
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:KEY CONTROL HOLDING, INC.;REEL/FRAME:024286/0176
Effective date: 20100421
|30 Jan 2011||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|31 Dec 2014||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8